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Published on : Tuesday, January 10, 2017
In China, 2017 will be the Year of the Rooster, the Chinese zodiac known for being the life of the party in the lunar calendar. This is a particularly happy pairing for Chinese New Year – a holiday renowned for its knockout dinners. Also known as Spring Festival, it is one of the most important holidays that celebrates the start of a new year in the lunar calendar. Some days are celebrated with more fanfare than others, but each has specific customs and traditions to honour gods and deities.
To help make sense of 16 days of nonstop celebrations, Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai offers a calendar of the most important feast days, which guests can celebrate in style at the Hotel’s Chinese fine dining restaurant, Shàng-Xí.
New Year’s Eve, January 27, 2017
The centrepiece of New Year’s Eve is the reunion dinner, where families gather together for a huge feast to foster prosperity in the coming year. Foods thought to bring luck and wealth in Chinese lore and tradition are served. One dish considered particularly lucky is lo hei, a Southeast Asian raw fish salad with a name that sounds like the Chinese for “increased abundance.” If one eats lo hei on New Year’s Eve, they’re attracting windfalls in the coming year.
Shàng-Xí will offer special set menus only this evening, serving an array of gourmet takes on traditional Chinese New Year dishes, including poached baby brassica in saffron sauce and braised abalone served with Yunnan mushrooms.
New Year’s Day, January 28-30, 2017
The first three days of the New Year honour elders. Families visit older relatives, and most gather for a second feast of lucky dishes. Other foods of fortune include dumplings, which have the same shape as ancient Chinese form of money, and a glutinous rice cake called niangao, whose name sounds like an omen of prosperity.
At Shàng-Xí, there will be another special Chinese New Year set menu. Guests can order à la carte or chose a prix fixe menu. Delicacies on offer include stir-fried cuts of prime Australian wagyu beef and crispy Mandarin fish smothered in irresistible sweet and sour sauce.
Lantern Festival, February 11, 2017
The last day of Chinese New Year is Lantern Festival, a day on which Chinese families gather together to light lanterns and eat a special soup filled with sweet gluttonous rice called tang yuan. Some lanterns are emblazoned with riddles, the answers to which almost always pertain to luck or fortune.
At Shàng-Xí, complimentary tang yuan will be served with dinner all night. Tang yuan symbolises unity and togetherness and serves as a kind of dessert for all of Chinese New Year; a sweet way to close out a delicious and memorable celebration.